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The 2015 ACC Football schedule is out. (Not without some last-second drama, but nevermind.) So, here are some of my takeaways from spending quite a bit of time looking over the schedule. Remember, I did it for you. That’s just the kind of guy I am.
“WAIT FOR IT….”
I have to start with the one game that has defined the ACC for the last four years. It’s no longer early in the season. You have to wait for Florida State and Clemson until November 7th. It’s their first November meeting since 2010.
The winner of this game the last 4 years has won the ACC title.
“THURSDAY NIGHT LIGHTS!”
Thursday night games have become the ACC’s little cottage industry. It’s really a great tradition. This year, seven more Thursday night games. Four of them hit you right away in week 1:
-North Carolina vs South Carolina (Charlotte)
-Duke @ Tulane
-Alcorn St. @ Georgia Tech
-Elon @ Wake Forest
Remember how I said the battle for the Atlantic (FSU/Clemson) is no longer early in the season? It doesn’t mean we don’t get some good Atlantic football before summer officially ends. Thursday, September 17, Clemson plays at Louisville.
Then, later in the year, we get two Coastal battles: UNC visits Pitt on October 29th and Virginia Tech plays at Georgia Tech on Nov. 11th. It’s the fifth time in six years the Hokies and Yellow Jackets will play on a day other than Saturday.
“FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS!”
Can anyone tell me if Florida State has ever played on a Friday night during the regular season? I truly can’t think of one. The Noles play at Boston College on September 18th.
It’s one of five Friday night games on the schedule.
Sept. 18 Florida State @ Boston College
Sept. 25 Boise State @ Virginia
Oct. 9 NC State @ Virginia Tech
Oct. 30 Louisville @ Wake Forest
Nov. 27 Miami @ Pittsburgh
Word on the street was that the Hokies really wanted to host a Thursday night game. Hopefully, they’re happy with a Friday night instead.
“CUT-TING DOWN ON TRAVEL”
Duke’s Coach Cut (David Cutcliffe) must have cut a deal with the devil because the Blue Devils’ travel schedule is i-deal. From mid-October on, the furthest Duke has to go is a couple of road trips to Charlottesville and Blacksburg. If your GPS is letting you down right now, let me help you out: Durham to either location is no more than a three and a half hour drive.
“IRISH EYES ARE SMILIN’.. MORE THAN EVER”
Half of Notre Dame’s schedule this year is against ACC schools.
Sept.12 @ Virginia
Sept. 19 vs Georgia Tech
Oct. 3 @ Clemson
Nov. 7 @ Pittsburgh
Nov. 14 vs Wake Forest
Nov. 21 vs Boston College (Fenway Park)
Yes, the one that pops out is that last one. It’s officially a home game for the Irish, but it will be at Fenway Park. I’m not exaggerating when I say this: It may turn out to be the toughest ticket in American sports in 2015.
I might change my mind by July, but as of right now, I think the two best teams in the Atlantic are Florida State and Clemson, and the two best teams in the Coastal are Georgia Tech and Miami.
Thanks to the scheduling gods (ok, my good friends in Greensboro who work for the conference), on two Saturdays in October, we can see these schools go head to head.
Oct. 10 Georgia Tech @ Clemson || Miami @ Florida State
Oct. 24 Clemson @ Miami || Florida State @ Georgia Tech
Pretty cool, huh? It’s like Wife Swap. We’ll call it Division Rival Swap.
“THE 5 GAMES TO WATCH”
So, after it’s all said and done.. what are the 5 games I really want to see?
Sept. 7 Ohio State @ Virginia Tech
The Hokies gave Ohio State its only loss on the way to a national title. Revenge for the Buckeyes? Confidence for the Hokies? This one will be fun in Blacksburg.
Oct. 3 Louisville @ North Carolina St.
Every year, I try to guess which team has the best shot at challenging the Clemson-FSU monopoly on the Atlantic. This year, I’ll say it’s the winner of the Oct. 3 matchup in Raleigh.
Nov. 7 Florida State @ Clemson
But let’s be honest. If past is prologue, November 7 in Death Valley decides the Atlantic.
Nov. 7 Notre Dame @ Pittsburgh
That same day, I think we could see Pat Narduzzi show just how much he’s accomplished in his first season at Pitt. The Panthers could be in the mix in the Coastal. Heck, I think it could be another crazy year in the Coastal.
Nov. 21 Georgia Tech @ Miami
But, I still think Georgia Tech and Miami are the two most talented teams in the Coastal. I expect this Nov. 21 battle to decide the division.
So there ya go, the 2015 ACC football schedule. You can tweet me your predictions about the football season. I’m @JeffFischel onTwitter.
Otherwise, the next time we talk football is... next week for National Signing Day. We’ll have great coverage February 4 for every team right here on theACC.com.